Illegal timber scandal in Sydney

Feature Story - 26 July, 2011
Greenpeace expose an illegal timber scandal that originated in the rainforests of Borneo and found its way to Sydney’s CBD.

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The peaceful direct action had an immediate positive outcome. After we exposed their use of illegal timber on the development site, Central Park, the developers took action. Frasers Property Australia promised to audit and remove any illegally logged timber from the worksite. Even better, it committed to only using FSC-certified timber hereafter.

The fact that a company who wanted to do the right thing was using illegal timber highlights the urgent need for the government to introduce effective laws to stop illegal timber ending up in Australia.

Read more on the government’s laws (ABC)
Read more on the developer’s commitment (Daily Telegraph)

On 27 July, 2011 activists took action at the Central Park development in the heart of Sydney today to highlight the loopholes in the Federal Government’s proposed illegal timber laws. Climbers scaled a construction crane and hung a banner, while others marked piles of plywood illegally logged from the last remaining rainforests of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo.

Greenpeace investigations in Australia, coupled with on-the-ground investigations by UK NGO, Earthsight, have revealed that illegal timber from the rainforests of Sarawak is bought and sold across Australia. Read the report

Today’s action is a small example of the widespread use of illegal timber products in Australia. Without adequate laws to prevent this, Australians will continue to unwittingly support forest destruction, biodiversity loss and corruption in our region.

The plywood found at the Central Park development comes from timber concessions in Sarawak where systematic and widespread incidents of illegal logging were documented. One of the world’s largest and most notorious logging companies, Samling, was found to be logging protected species, encroaching on areas designated as national parks, destroying rivers and fraudulently tagging logs.

Australia imports around $840million worth of illegal timber products a year. After years of lobbying the government, it has finally drafted laws to ban illegal timber imports. Yet they are too weak to be effective. We’re calling on the government to pass strong new laws – similar to those in the EU and the US – to shut down the illegal timber trade once and for all.

TAKE ACTION: Say no to bad wood